June 18, 2008 Edition

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Repair work still underway

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

Lawrence County Judge Alex Latham said the county has completed approximately 85 percent of the road repairs needed to fix damage to rural roads after weeks of flooding made them impassible.

"It takes three to four months to recover from something like that," Latham said of the March and April flooding. "We're getting there slowly.

"We had to evaluate what needed to be done and it had to be cost effective," he added.

Latham said the bus routes and mail routes have to take priority.

"We're working on a tight budget," he said. "We have to be smarter, work smarter and utilize everything to its fullest potential."

All damaged bridges have been repaired and tiles have been replaced except for one, which is still on order. Latham says the county plans to have it repaired before harvest.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was in the county on Tuesday and advised on the next step needed before the county can receive reimbursement for money spent on road and bridge repairs.

FEMA pays for 75 percent of the repairs to infrastructures in an area, which has been designated as a natural disaster area. Lawrence County was one of 19 primary disaster areas designated in the March 28 declaration. The additional money must come from state and local funds.

Alverto Pillot, a public information officer with FEMA, said that as of June 11 FEMA has paid $139,304 for housing in Lawrence County. An additional $10,602 was paid for other needs.

FEMA has extended the application deadline to June 27 for residents who have not filed.

"If you have already done repairs, and you have no insurance you can present receipts for the cost to FEMA and apply for a reimbursement." Pillot said.

Pillot also said that that people with property damage can apply to the Small Business Administration for a loan to help with rebuilding or repairing damage.

Corrine Fletcher, Powhatan Historic State Park director, said that the park has been working on repairing damage to the historic Telephone Exchange building.

"State Park Employees are doing all the work. We're putting it back better and more historically correct. We are taking the opportunity to do some other things like touching up the paint as well." Fletcher said.

Fletcher said they are also taking precautionary measures.

"We sealed the floor to protect it," she said. "We know that polyurethane was not invented in those days, but we feel anything we can do to protect the building from future damage is a good thing."

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